My favorite places to visit in Kyoto are definitely Fushimi Inari, Arashiyama and Carland. These places are definitely worth checking out. Getting to each of these destination however, will require some extra planning as they are each a bit out of the way.
Funshimi Inari is a very popular shinto shrine located in the southern Kyoto. There are many torii gates extended throughout this famous travel site. The majority of the gates found along these trails are donated by Japanese companies. The donators’ names and donation dates are written on each gate. Another noteworthy detail found here are the fox statues which are said to be Inari’s faithful messengers.
It’ll take about 3 hrs to reach the top at a moderate pace. It’s a grueling trek that’ll definitely tire you out. You’ll reach a nice halfway point after about an hour of climbing the steps, many people turn back at this point. The Yotsusuji intersection offers a nice view of Kyoto city and a few restaurants to lounge around in. What you find at the very top of the trail is a prayer site, filled with people lining up and waiting their turn to petition their prayer for prosperity and such. Do plan on visiting Fushimi Inari if you find yourself planning a trip to wonderful Kyoto.
There are tons of cool things to do in this area. It is especially popular and beautiful during the cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons. Some noteworthy places are of course the Togetsukyo Bridge, Bamboo grove, Iwatayama Monkey Park, Tenryuji Temple, Daikakuji Temple, Jojakkoji Temple, Gioji Temple etc. There are also river boat tours near the bridge and the Saga Scenic Railway found just past the bamboo grove.
We were short on time since we had so much ground to cover, so we focused our attention on the more popular Arashiyama destinations, Monkey Park and the Bamboo Grove. I highly suggest setting aside a good amount of time in order to see everything Arashiyama has to offer. I personally think it’s best to visit during the fall foliage, it’s a very beautiful area.
My favorite place in all of Kyoto is Carland! I had waited years to visit this small but inspiring shop. I love cars and as a Toyota die-hard and true Toyota classic car enthusiast, this place is a real treat. Keichi Tsuchiya’s (Drift King) car is said to be usually spotted here but it wasn’t during the time of my visit; I had a great time nonetheless. I bought a few souvenirs, had a nice conversation with the mechanic on site and really had a special experience. Kyoto is an awesome place which offers many lovely sites and experiences. I hope you will get the chance to enjoy Kyoto as much as I did. Happy Travels!